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The Birth of the Saudi Oil Industry.  One of the earliest printed maps of Saudi Arabia to include the name Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco)

Highly detailed map of Saudi Arabia, published by the Arabian American Oil Company in March 1942.

The map is quite possibly the earliest map to name the Arabian American Oil Company, which was not formally re-named until 1944 (sources differ, but this date is the most reliable). 

The History of Oil in the Middle East

This map effectively illustrates the blank slate that was Saudi oil exploration at the beginning of the 1940s.  The map illustrates the Maidan I Naftun and Naft Safid oilfields in Iran (and the pipelines that link them to the A.I.O.C. Refinery at Abadan) as well as the Kirkuk oilfield and the pipelines running from there to Haifa and Tripoli. Dammam and Dhahran, the sites of the first commercial oil wells in Saudi Arabia, feature on the map. Aside from that, however, there is no illustrated oil development in the Middle East.

Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO)

The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa provides the following history of Aramco:

The origins of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) go back to the May 1933 signing of an oil concession agreement between Saudi Arabia's finance minister, Shaykh Abdullah Sulayman, and Lloyd N. Hamilton, an attorney representing Standard Oil of California (SOCAL, now Chevron). Oil exploration was begun three months later by CASOC, the SOCAL subsidiary established to operate the Saudi concession.

At that time, SOCAL was seeking a partner to market the oil it was producing in Bahrain and hoped to produce in Saudi Arabia. In 1936 it transferred 50 percent of the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and 50 percent of CASOC to the Texas Company (Texaco), receiving in return $21 million in cash and deferred payments, plus a half interest in Texaco's marketing facilities east of Suez, which were reorganized as a subsidiary of BAPCO and named CALTEX. On 3 March 1938 CASOC brought in its first commercial oil well, Dammam number 7. On 1 May 1939 King Abd al-Aziz was present when the first oil tanker was loaded with Saudi crude oil and sailed from Ras Tanura.

The development of Saudi Arabia's oil fields was hampered, but not halted, by World War II. In 1940 Italian aircraft bombed Dhahran, where CASOC was headquartered, and the war at sea limited shipping to and from the Persian Gulf throughout the conflict. During the war, fears of oil depletion sparked U.S. government interest in the resources of Saudi Arabia. Although plans for the U.S. government to buy all or part of CASOC eventually were shelved, in late 1943 steel and other rationed materials were allocated to the company to construct a tank farm, refinery, and marine terminal at Ras Tanura, along with a submarine pipeline to the BAPCO refinery on Bahrain.

CASOC had an unusually close relationship with its host government and its personnel made great efforts to be good guests in the kingdom. CASOC also protected its conception of Saudi interests within its parent corporations, primarily by opposing any move that would restrict production. SOCAL and Texaco were equally committed to a long-term relationship with the kingdom. In January 1944, at the suggestion of State Department adviser Herbert Feis, who had taken part in the negotiations over government participation in CASOC, SOCAL and Texaco changed the name of the operating company to the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO). ARAMCO became the chief conduit communicating Saudi Arabia's interests to its parent corporations and to the U.S. government.

1942 was an important transitional year in the history of Aramco.  The name Aramco was adopted in 1942 to reflect Saudi’s new prominence in the oil-producing world, being an abbreviation of Arabian American Oil Company. A permanent legation and a consulate were established in Jeddah in April 1942 under James S. Moose, Jr. (he was to be promoted to become Minister Resident one year later). The USA also dispatched an agricultural mission under Karl Twitchell to Saudi Arabia.  


The map is very rare. OCLC locates 2 examples, both of which seem to be photocopies (Library of Congress and American University of Beirut)